Barley Mow Centre, 11 Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick W4 4PH

Our visit to Sam’s Brasserie in Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick, which is situated just behind Chiswick High Road, had us wandering out of Turnham Green tube station, and along the High Road. It quickly struck us that the locals have a huge choice of places to eat, and that Sam’s must have its work cut out to stand out from the crowd.

Co-owned by Rick Stein and Rebecca Mascarenhas, Sam’s has been created out of former paper factory, and is an interesting, well designed space. Signs of its industrial past, remain and are features of its decor. Its plain concrete floor and painted brick walls are balanced with smart design touches and furnishings to create a welcoming room.

For starters, the deep fried squid with lime and chilli dip was a mighty pile of beautifully cooked squid, the initial bite melting into a creamy, delicious mouthful. The black pudding with quail egg, frisee and baby spinach, although smaller, had great flavours coming together from its constituent parts, the rich combination of the black pudding and eggs, contrasting well with the fresh well dressed salad leaves. Both starters were very good.

On to mains, and the rack of lamb, beautifully pink and tender, served with a generous portion of good dauphinoise potatoes, al dente spring greens and salsa verde, was a tasty dish. The roast cod with pancetta, braised lettuce, leeks and peas was another winner, the smoky cod working really well with the pancetta and other ingredients. Sides of rosemany roast potatoes and green beans with shallots were excellent, though perhaps unneccesary, given the generous portion of the mains.

At this point, we could happily have waddled back along Chiswick High Road, fully satisfied, but we decided, manfully to tackle desserts and how pleased we were that we did. The queen of puddings had good fruit flavour from the cherry compote within it offsetting the sweetness of its light meringue topping, accompanied by a great, tangy cherry sorbet it was an excellent dish. The affogato comprised really good vanilla ice cream with punchy espresso that made a terrific end to the meal.

Sam’s has a good variety of wines by the glass or carafe, the house white and red each had good flavour, and were reasonably priced.
Service was friendly and efficient, and there was a lively, buzzy atmosphere all evening. There is a separate bar area, with its own menu, and various events, such as whisky tasting for grown-ups, and family-friendly stuff at the weekend.

So despite local competition, Sam’s clearly stands out from the crowd, delivering excellent food and service in a comfortable space. It is definitely worth visiting.